After an 8-0 win yesterday, the Chicago Cubs have now won six of their last seven games and four straight against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
At 34-38 the Cubs are in fourth in the NL Central only a half game behind the 34-37 Pirates with a chance to overtake them for third in the division.
For Game 2 of this series at PNC Park, the Cubs will have Marcus Stroman on the mound after he gave up two runs over six innings against Pittsburgh last time out. Stroman is 8-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 starts this season.
He will be opposed again by Johan Oviedo who is 3-6 with a 4.40 ERA and allowed four runs over 4.1 to the Cubs in that June 15 matchup.
With the Pirates amidst a seven-game losing skid, the Cubs are road favorites tonight.
Cubs vs. Pirates odds, run line and total
Cubs vs. Pirates prediction and pick
The Cubs were the worst hitting team in the entire MLB in June until they faced the Pirates. Now, in four games against Pittsburgh since June 14, the Cubs have scored 36 runs.
Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has absolutely no answer for the bats of the Cubs -- specifically Ian Happ who has always done damage against his hometown Pirates. Last night Happ was a non-factor, but Mike Tauchman had three hits and drove in three runs.
In June, the Pirates are 28th in the league in team ERA and have issued the second most walks. The free passes were an issue again last night as the Cubs walked five times.
With all the damage that Chicago has done in these four games they are now 11th in runs this month and still 27th in OPS.
Marcus Stroman has a fantastic ERA and record, but his FIP is 3.43, nearly a run higher than his ERA, and his expected ERA is 3.73. Stroman has the highest walk rate of his career which puts him in the 38th percentile of all pitchers and he is only 42nd percentile in strikeout rate.
His success won’t last all year, I’m expecting big regression at some point. It may not be tonight against Pittsburgh’s abysmal lineup, but I think his team can get to eight runs on their own so I’ll take the over.
Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change